Written student's testimonial: Caitlin Neary
Caitlin, how did you secure your internship?
The Dorchester attended the EHL October Job Fair, and although they were not recruiting for a BSC 2 administrative internship, I presented my CV to the representative and expressed my interest in the company’s Revenue Management department. After a few months, I received an email asking if I was still interested in an internship beginning in June - I was! Several Skype interviews later, I received the offer for a Reservations and Revenue Trainee position.
Why did you choose London as the destination for your internship?
I was initially drawn to the fact that there are three Dorchester Collection properties in the UK, and that the Revenue Management for all three properties is handled in London. Also, to be in London during the Summer Olympics was a dream come true, as I was in Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics for my first internship.
What does a typical day look like?
I tended to think of my week as a whole, rather than on a daily basis. As our office cared for the Revenue Management of the three Dorchester Collection UK properties, things were busy! On Monday, it was necessary to understand the changes that took place over the weekend (including helping to complete 6 pick-up reports, one in the morning and the daily evening pick-up for all three properties). Monday was also the day for organizing the tasks for the week, in particular the three revenue meetings which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday. These two days were the busiest, as many reports needed to be compiled before the Revenue Manager could begin forecasting. My task was to assist in any way possible, which included printing reports and trying to understand any major changes that took place throughout the week (new or cancelled reservations). By 16h, it was time to begin with the pick-up reports for the day.
Were there any challenges you faced that you hadn’t imagined before the internship?
I was asked by the Area Director of Human Resources for the Dorchester Collection to complete a Human Resource project about the use of agency workers at The Dorchester. While I was expecting to have a Revenue Management internship, I appreciated the opportunity to discover the Human Resources aspect of hospitality, even if I did not feel completely comfortable working in a different department. At the end of this project, it was an honour to be asked to share my presentation in front of the Executive Committee of The Dorchester. Although I found myself challenged outside of my comfort zone, the learning curve I experienced from this presentation was great. Should I ever receive the chance to present before an Executive Committee again, I will certainly take the elements learned during this internship presentation with me.
What was the most important thing you learned?
I learned that every hotel property is unique, and therefore, it is necessary to adjust management practices accordingly. For instance, the 70-room country hotel in Ascot is very different from The Dorchester, a 250-room iconic property in central London. I was constantly reminded that booking lead times and lengths of stay, for example, may vary greatly depending on the size, location and type of hotel and that therefore, each one needs to be managed accordingly. Linked to this, perhaps the most important skill I developed is to be flexible. Many times I would come in in the morning expecting my day to look a certain way, and by 15h the day had taken a very different turn. I believe this ever-changing environment was one of the reasons that I enjoyed my internship so much.
Can you share a story that marked your experience?
I will not forget how excited I was to attend my first revenue meeting. This is a weekly meeting and I had not attended the first week of my internship. I knew that this was at 14h every Wednesday and at 13h55 the Area Director of Revenue simply asked me, “Are you coming?”. I was thrilled! I think I smiled the whole way through. The level of responsibility I received and the ability to attend meetings or generate reports was something that I truly valued. While I attended several other meetings as my time progressed, I still remembered the joy of my first revenue meeting!